Turkish court to annul Fethullah Gülen’s passport
ANKARA – Anadolu AgencyU.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the chief suspect behind Turkey’s July 2016 military coup attempt, had the appeal against the removal of his official passport denied on May 25, a judicial official has said.
Gülen, the leader of what the government and prosecutors call the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), used his official “green” Turkish passport to travel to the U.S. in 1999. He has not returned to Turkey since then.
The official passport is issued to public officials and their immediate families and, unlike blue passports, give the holder visa-free travel to some European countries and makes it easier to obtain a visa for other countries such as the U.S.
As a former preacher, and therefore a civil servant, Gülen was have been entitled to the passport.
In 2015, the governor of Gülen’s hometown, the eastern province of Erzurum, canceled the documents, citing inaccurate information he provided in 1990. This was subsequently approved by the Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court.
Although Gülen did not initially challenge the decision, he did so prior to the coup attempt through his lawyer Nurullah Albayrak, who is now also being sought by the authorities over his ties to Gülen’s network.
Albayrak appealed to the council - an appeal rejected on May 23, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
The case will now be passed back to an administrative court in Erzurum to be implemented.